Municipal Election Petition Hearings

[Update 1/7/2011: I think I’ve been too subtle about my position on the municipal petition challenges and have corrected this in the comments today.]

I was able to attend one of the election petition challenge hearings this morning, the one with Corey Kravitz as petitioner and First Ward Alderman Bertrand Simpson as respondent. Mr. Simpson was represented by an attorney.

The objections were that Mr. Simpson left off required information, such as the ward he is running for, and that the zip code was missing from one or more spaces where the petition called for it. The election board of mayor, city clerk and senior alderman denied the objections on the basis that, while the petitions are not perfect, they are substantially in compliance with election requirements and caused no confusion to the Ward 1 voters who signed it.

Since the remainder of the petition challenges are similarly based on clerical errors, I predict the same outcomes for all.

7 thoughts on “Municipal Election Petition Hearings”

  1. I’ll repeat here a comment I just made at the DC:

    IMO the board ruled rightly. The errors were minor, e.g. leaving off a zip code in one space on a sheet where it was repeated 15 times elsewhere. Election law states that petitions do not have to be perfect, just “substantially correct.” Case law indicates they must not cause confusion on the part of voters signing them about who’s running and for what office. Would I think twice about voting for someone who is sloppy? Yes, but that’s a different matter entirely.

  2. Lynn- I kind of wish you would have stayed for the Simpson Hearing (Case 11-04). You write:

    “While the petitions are not perfect, they are substantially in compliance with election requirements and caused no confusion to the Ward 1 voters who signed it. ”

    In my objection challenge, I pointed out that there was indeed confusion. One of Mr Simpson’s petition signers resides in the second ward. So, I would have do disagree with your statement.

    Though I Do agree with your statement regarding voting for someone who is sloppy.

    My Favorite part of the Day was at the end of the hearing, having Mr Herb Rubin come up to me and thanking me for wasting the city’s time.

    Also thoughout much of the hearing, I observed City Manager Mark Biernacki standing around the in the back of the council chambers and watching the hearing. Hmmm apparantly Mr Biernacki felt that there are no city issues that needed to be tended to had nothing better to do today. Your tax dollars at work!

  3. No, thank you. I’ve done the math. Out of 8 sets of petitions, 6 were similarly flawed but you only went after the two incumbents. One who sincerely believes that candidates making this type of error should be bounced off the ballot would have objected to all the imperfect petitions.

    This kind of selectivity is an ends-justify-the-means approach and makes your behavior no better than that of Naylor’s buddies 4 years ago. And if you had been successful, your misuse of the system would have eliminated choices for voters in wards you don’t even belong to.

    So, to make my position perfectly clear: I condemn your actions and hope in future you choose to to support challengers in a manner that is above reproach.

  4. The electoral board ruled that I had every right to make the challenges despite not residing in the ward of the candidates who I chose to challenge.

    I find it quite interesting that you remain silent on the candidates for the school board who were knocked off the ballot after they were challenged. I guess it’s okay for the city council candidates to get a free ride on their petitions, while the school board candidates are held to a stricter set of standards.

    So, with that said, I condemn your selective set of standards you convey in this matter.

    I will agree to disagree with you

  5. Mark, let me walk you through this:

    1) The city candidates’ petitions contained clerical errors, i.e. minor errors, such as leaving off a zip code here and there, and the lawful standard being applied was whether the petitions were “substantially correct.”

    2) The school board candidates’ petitions contained errors that went beyond an omitted zip code. For you to try to argue that a missing zip code is the same as not meeting the required minimum number of signatures is laughable on its face.

    So, yes. For whatever reasons (and I don’t kid myself that ANYBODY’S motives were pure) both the city election board and the school election board managed to come up with the right responses for what was placed before them.

    I’d appreciate it if you didn’t make up stuff to fight with me about. Nobody said you didn’t HAVE the right. I’m saying that it was not right how you chose to exercise that right to take out incumbents you don’t like. Vengeance is not an item on a good government agenda.

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